29 March 2015

Skip Counting, Repeated Addition, Arrays, Multiplication, Oh My!

How do you get second graders to work harder than they ever have before in math? Just mention the word "multiplication" and suddenly the light bulbs come on! Who knew?
So apparently, multiplication is code for MAJOR coming of age in which 2nd graders will suddenly catch on faster than they have to nearly a YEAR'S worth of addition and subtraction practice. I was seriously impressed with my kiddos!

So how exactly did I teach my sweet seconds to understand the CONCEPT (our time with multiplication was NOT for the purposed of rote memorization...we were strictly focusing on conceptual understanding) of multiplication? I planned to spend 2 weeks on multiplication. Like we start pretty much any new concept, I started with what my students already knew...skip counting!

Day 1 - Skip Counting
  • Why is skip counting helpful
  • What are some real-like things that can be skip counted (my students came up with eyes, nostrils, packs of markers, shoes, fingers, hands {body parts lend themselves well to this}, feet, legs, toes, pencils, dog legs, and lots more)
  • We practiced skip counting by identifying the rule, and then giving 4 numbers that follow the rule
My kiddos used this individual skip counting "boards" I made by just printing on cardstock and laminating, and then used dry erase markers. Sometimes I would give my kids just the "rule" and they would have to give an examples. Sometimes, I gave them just two numbers, and they would have to finish skip counting AND tell what the rule was.

Day 2 - Skip Counting and Equal Groups
  • We continued to practice skip counting, but extended our conversation into recognizing that when we skip count, we had equal groups of whatever we were skip counting.
  • My kiddos practiced skip counting with partners - they would take turns thinking of a rule, or showing skip counting and then their partner would have to show the missing info
Love that based on student partnerships, the practice is differentiated. The group above worked in the thousand's, while other groups worked with smaller numbers.
Days 3 and 4 - Equal Groups and Repeated Addition
  • We used what we knew about skip counting, and our discussion about equal groups to model repeated addition.
  • There was LOTS of guided practice. It took a few times to catch on, but man, once they caught on...there was no stopping!
 I like to use my smart board to display our guided practice problems. And, the kiddos loved the equal group pictures I used. We're easily entertained :) Here was my method for questioning:
  1. How many groups are there? Circle the groups.
  2. How many in each group? Count the objects in each group.
  3. How can we use repeated addition to show the total? 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8
  4. How can we write a multiplication sentence to match the repeated addition sentence? 4 (groups) x 2 (in each group) = 8
I may or may not have used my laminating to have my sweets write a repeated addition sentence! haha! It's real life practice, right?

The next part of our multiplication journey involved making the jump to arrays! We discussed columns and rows (far easier than I thought it would be!). Because I knew arrays were a new concept, we spend the remainder of our multiplication journey with arrays. 
My kiddos LOVED arrays, and we practiced arrays in lots of different ways! Take a look in the pictures below!
We ended our multiplication journey with Sticker Arrays! My kiddos LOVED these! I laid out lots of different stickers (hello, power of choice!), and then my sweets made their own arrays using stickers. They had to describe their array using rows and columns, repeated addition, and multiplication.
Such a fun, and great way to tell if my students understood the concept by applying it on their own!

As a fun wrap-up, I placed cards around the room, and my students were able to move around finding cards, and recording a matching repeated addition sentence and a multiplication sentence. We like to MOVE IT
Does your class like to move around too? Grab the above cards here!

In your district, when are students introduced to the concept of multiplication

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.

19 March 2015

Fairy Tale Projects

I legit can't believe we just wrapped up the 3rd nine weeks. Seriously, people...we've got exactly 40, FORTY days left! Cray-Z! Let's just take a moment to let that sink in...Yes, I'm counting. Yes, it's been that kind of a year. Don't judge.
Moving forward...the 3rd nine weeks happens to be one of my favorite times of the year! The content we teach during that weeks is just so much fun! Reading happens to be ALL about fairy tales, fables, and folktales (which, theoretically, all fairy tales and fables are folktales, right)? You can read about some of the books I use here.

My sweet friend Chandra over at Teaching with Crayons and Curls, and awesome teammate made an ADORABLE fairy tale unit! So much fun! I mean, how cute are these craftivities?!?! (Go back, re-read this sentence like Chandler from Friends!) They go perfectly with the writing prompts she created!
We wrapped up the 3rd nine weeks by doing fairy tale projects! A couple of weeks ago, I sent home the letter and graphic organizer packets! (*Most* of my kiddos actually completed them - if you're at a school where you know they won't be able to do them at home, they can TOTALLY be done at school! In fact, this would be a really fun partner project).

The kiddos got to choose from 3 different options:

  1. Fairy Tale Diorama - choosing their favorite fairy tale and depicting a scene from the book.
  2. ____ for President - choosing their favorite fairy tale character and creating a campaign poster
  3. WANTED! Poster - choosing an evil character and creating a wanted poster

SIDE NOTE: Perhaps my favorite part about this project was that if parents students didn't want to go all-out (poster board, diorama, hot gluing, glitter) they could have just used what was in the packet! But, if the parents students did want to go above and beyond, they could do that too.

Here's what a few of my kiddos brought in! So.Stinkin'.Cute! We'll definitely be doing these again next year!
And they all lived happily ever after!

09 March 2015

Management Monday - Role Model of the Day

I like to frequent Dollar Tree. Anyone else? I can find so many creative uses for a lot of the cutesy products they have, and oh - they're cheap! Perfect for my budget!

On a recent trip, I came across these adorable little signs, and immediately snagged two of them.
Pretty much since we came back from our winter break, the babes have been talking.non.stop. I'm about to lose my mind. Instead of losing my mind...I introduced the signs to my kiddos - and the excitement was almost too much to handle. No, seriously. {insert teacher voice here.}

Anyway, the premise is simple - I look for a Role Model of the Day, and then that student gets to have this sit on his/her desk the following day. It's announced at our Morning Meeting, and basically, my kids are obsessed! Some of Chatty Kathy's have been working SUPER hard to get this award! And, since I grabbed two, we have a girl and a boy role model of the day. Ahh, perfection.

In other, unrelated news...how adorable is this burlap pencil? I'm obsessed. Want to know how you can get your own? You can find more info here.

Oh - I almost forgot to mention my new obsession {perhaps my favorite word}...essential oils! I was so skeptical (and so was Mr. - he was NOT happy with me), but we are soon believers now, even Mr. which certainly says something. These four are my favorites! Thumbs up for not getting sick!!! Want to learn more? Just send me an email, and I'll share our story!


01 March 2015

Hello, March!

Why, hello there, March!
I love linking up with Farley over at Oh, Boy 4th Grade!

Listening - We love Downton Abbey! If you don't watch Downton Abbey, stop reading this right now, get to Netflix, and begin watching. You're welcome!!!

Loving - Homemade Shrimp Tacos! Since the Mr. and I are eating a bit cleaner, so no tortillas for us! They.are.delicious! We've had them twice in the last week! Best part, there's leftovers!

Thinking - Is it really time for Monday, already? Enough said.

Wanting - More snow days!!! In the last 2 weeks, we've had a total of 5 snow days...I'd like more, please! I've been able to get so much accomplished!

Needing - I've been so busy with teaching (this year, is quite time-consuming), I've left my little blog out in the cold! Here's to getting back to a regular schedule!

Spring Break Plans - Considering our spring break isn't until APRIL (we finish school in May!), I haven't even had the heart to think about it. To be honest, I'd love to just relax around the house, and get a few things crossed off of my to-do list!

Want to read more of what other bloggers are "currently" up to? Head over to Oh, Boy 4th Grade!
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